In Paris, we met up with our cousins, Casey and William, who live in London. We went with them to the Louvre, a huge museum where the Mona Lisa is housed. We went through the Louvre until we saw a big room with a huge crowd of people inside, so we knew that was where the famous painting was. In the middle of the room is a huge wall that hangs this famous painting, the only one on the entire wall. There were a couple hundred people trying to see it at once. We eventually got to as close as you can get to the Mona Lisa, which is about 9 feet away since they have it roped off. It was very interesting to see since I had always heard about it and seen pictures of it in art classes. Now I finally got to see the real thing.
The next day we walked down the famous Champs de Elysees street to the Arc de Triomphe,which is a huge arch built to commemorate all of Napoleon's victories. It's a major landmark in Paris. It is in the middle of a major intersection and you have to walk underground to get to it. When we were leaving, it looked like they were starting a military ceremony in the middle of the arch to honor someone who died in battle. There was a big crowd around so we didn't see exactly who it was for, but we found out later that they do a ceremony there every night at the tomb of the unknown soldier, which is under the arch.
We left the Arc de Triomphe and took the Metro (which is the French subway) to the Eiffel Tower. I learned that the Eiffel Tower was built for the International Exhibit of Paris in 1889, which was a big Worlds Fair celebrating the 100 year anniversary of the French Revolution. It was supposed to be torn down after 20 years but instead it became a radio tower.
Paris has two "banks," which refers to the side of the river something is on. When we left the Eiffel Tower, we crossed over the Seine, which is the river that runs through Paris. We hopped back on the Metro and went to dinner at our uncle's brother's apartment, which was really cool because you could see the Eiffel Tower from their balcony. I was excited to see it all lit up at night because it flashes with thousands of lights.
After Paris we went to the French countryside with our cousins to the small town of Charchigne. We stayed in a cottage and spent Easter there. The countryside had many small villages where the houses are older then the U.S. itself. I noticed that in each tiny village, there was usually a HUGE church and at least one patisserie, which are incredible French bakeries.
After Easter was over we said goodbye to our cousins and started on our way to Germany. That's all for now, 'til next blog, "au revoir."